I have been experimenting with a few different cupcake flavors and combinations over the last couple of weeks. I would love to tell you that everything I tried turned out incredible but, as with most of my experiments, I did have some disasters. Despite the disasters I was fortunate to come up with a couple of different cupcakes that I really liked. The one I am going to share with you today is a lemon cupcake with blackberry filling and blackberry buttercream icing, adorned with toasted almonds and a fresh blackberry.
I made these for my daughter’s birthday and then ended up making them again two weeks later for a going away party for a friend. My daughter, who usually doesn’t care much for cake, told me, “I think these are the best cupcakes you’ve ever made.” I don’t know if that is true or not but that was sure a seal of approval in my book.
To make them even more adorable, I found these neat little Wilton cupcake boxes at my local Joann Fabric Store. I tried to find them online so that I could show you where you could purchase them but I can’t find them anywhere so maybe they were just a specialty item that I was lucky enough to discover. I thought they really dressed up the cupcakes and made them a very special favor for guests.
To make the lemon cupcakes, you will need:
3 cups all purpose flour, 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup unsalted butter, 4 eggs, 3 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 cup low-fat milk, and the zest and juice of 2 lemons.
To get the zest from a lemon, use a zester and rub the lemon across the blade, extracting the yellow part of the skin. Don’t rub too much in any one position or you will start to zest the bitter, white part of the skin. Rotate the lemon until all of the yellow has been removed.
Once the zest is removed, cut the lemon in half and use a juicer to remove the juice. I have this old electric juicer that has been in the family for many years but there are all sorts of different kinds on the market; electric, manual and handheld. You can even just use a fork and rotate the tines around the inside of the lemon but you are likely to get a lot of pulp and seeds mixed in with the juice. Lemons are easiest to juice if they are room temperature.
To make the blackberry filling you will need:
A 16 oz. bag of frozen blackberries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, 2 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 egg yolks
The filling needs to be refrigerated for at least 8 hours before using so I make it the night before I need it. I also use an apple corer to hollow out my cupcakes for the filling.
For instructions on how to fill a cupcake, see my blog post on Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes. There is also a video at the end of that post that shows how to ice your cupcakes with a beautiful swirl of icing on top. I used a Wilton tip 2E the first time I made these (as seen in the pictures) and then a Wilton tip 1M the second time. I think I preferred the 1M but they both worked well.
Blackberry Buttercream Icing
I love the beautiful purple color of this buttercream icing. It uses blackberry jam to get that color and to give it a blackberry flavor. To make the icing you will need:
2 cups unsalted butter, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp. salt, 8 cups powdered sugar and 1 cup seedless blackberry jam
This recipe makes about 6 cups of icing. If you are just spreading the icing on the cupcakes you could probably get away with about half of this recipe, but if you like to make large mounds of swirled icing on top of your cupcakes like I do, then you will need the full amount.
To finish off the cupcakes, I topped each with a fresh blackberry and two slices of toasted almonds, arranged to look like leaves around the blackberry. To toast the almonds, place sliced almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Remove from oven when they start to turn golden brown and emit a nutty smell. Cool completely.
Enjoy the fruits of summer.
Until next time, God Bless and Sweet Dreams.